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This mother speaks of her struggle with breastfeeding her baby when on the go, narrating vexatious incidents with rib-tickling humour.
Quick question: What is the easiest way to get a crowd to magically disappear from a room?
Simple! Get someone to start breastfeeding their child!
All my life, it hasn’t ceased to amaze me how two large addendums to the female form could be imbued with so much meaning, fascination and attention, the world over. But when it comes to post partum boobies, people just want to wish them away! How such a vital part of a child’s growth can be treated with paranoia and disgust is an evolutionary glitch in society and the guys who made the rules.
Let’s face it. Breastfeeding isn’t like a day at the spa or sunning yourself on the beach. Its hard work. From cracked nipples, to stubborn blocked ducts, to overflowing tributaries, them mammary glands have a mind of their own. Taming them is harder than taming dragons and once you kind of have a grip on your child’s erratic demands and your milk flow, and you feel you can emerge from the solitary jungle to start mingling with humanity, here comes the big problem. Where do you take pitstops to feed the baby?
Now given that we are a traditional, conservative lot, one can’t do it al fresco. Which begs the question, if you are out and about, where can you go?
Some hotels, malls and airports now have feeding rooms, but those are only to be found in the big cities. What doesn’t come even with the facilities though, is the right attitude.
I was part of a thread a while ago where a woman was shamed and heckled when she insisted on feeding her child in the mall (of-course she had a feeding apron) because the bathroom and feeding room were very unhygienic. When she tweeted about it, the mall management, instead of apologising, were belligerent and told her to manage her private business in her own space and not a public area. (Slow clap).
I’ll never forget the day when I was traveling to another city with my kid when she was an infant. I had to feed her, which happened to be while approaching a toll booth. I put on my apron and started feeding her as a car full of women slowed down and naturally peeped into the window. Some clucked, some shook their heads and one even did ‘chee’ and said something on the lines of ‘besharam’! I was astounded but decided against throwing some used diapers at them.
Another time when I was traveling back from Istanbul with my 7 month old (then), I was caught without a bassinet seat and crunched in the middle of two men. I had no option but to feed her as the plane took off, as she was howling. The wonderful human being who sat next to me called the flight attendant and in a loud voice demanded that he be given another seat as he did not want to be around ‘this nonsense’. I gave him an earful despite being hurt by his acute lack of sensitivity but bless the flight attendant. She promptly walked up to me, grabbed my arm, shot him a dirty look and marched me to a business class row that was empty. I remember thanking the idiotic man on the way out without whom I wouldn’t have had such a pleasant flight!
If there is one thing that being a mother has taught me is taking everything in my stride. It’s even made me more tolerant with my work! Imagine, if we have the ability to produce tiny human beings from within our bodies, it is easy to develop a thick skin and do what must be done, especially when it comes to our children. But the point is, that’s not how it should be. People shouldn’t treat breastfeeding women as the tentacled aliens from extra-terrestial movies, but display a certain degree of compassion and understanding, make them comfortable if possible or at-least not make a face if nothing else!
To all the morons (male and female included) who think they were by products of immaculate conception and never received succour from their mothers. Be kind. It doesn’t take much.
Image source: YouTube
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After chasing criminals as a journalist and spending over a decade in advertising, Richa penned a book of poetry titled A penchant for Prose. She has been a TOI Write India top 10 winner and read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
A married woman has to wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra, bangles, anklets, and so much more. What do these ornaments have to do with my love, respect, and commitment to my husband?
They: Are you married?
They: But You don’t look like it
Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
Why is being married not enough for a woman, and she needs to look married too? I am tired of such comments in the nearly four years of being married.
I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.